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Family of German sculptors active in Nuremberg. Hermannthe Elder (d1488) established the family bronze-foundry, and the business was inherited by his son Peterthe Elder (c.1460–1529), the best known of the Vischers. He was assisted by five sons: Hermannthe Younger (c.1486–1517), Peterthe Younger (1487–1528), Hans (c.1489–1550), Jacob, and Paulus. The masterpiece of the Vischer workshop is the spectacular bronze shrine over the sarcophagus of St Sebald in the church dedicated to him in Nuremberg. The first design—a drawing (by Peter the Elder?) in the Academy, Vienna—dates from 1488, but work began only in 1508 and continued until 1519. Through journeys of the younger generation the workshop had by that time gained a good deal of knowledge of Italian bronzes and in particular the work of north Italian sculptors. Thus the Sebald tomb became a fascinating mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The canopy remains Gothic, as also the main figures of the Apostles standing before the supports; but the base of the tomb is inhabited by biblical, mythological, and decorative figures conceived in a genuine Renaissance spirit. Peter the Elder included a celebrated self-portrait (complete with tools and leather apron) among these figures. He also made two splendid free-standing figures (1512–13) of Theodoric and King Arthur for the tomb of the emperor Maximilian I (see Habsburg) in the Hofkirche, Innsbruck. Georg (c.1522–92), a son of Hans, was the last artist member of the Vischer family; he seems to have specialized in small decorative bronzes such as inkwells.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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